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Biomechanical Analysis of Treadmill Exercise on the International Space Station (Kinematics_T2)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Biomedical countermeasures
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

The purpose of the Kinematics T2 experiment is to collect quantitative data from which to assess current exercise prescriptions for participating crewmembers on the International Space Station (ISS). Detailed biomechanical analyses of locomotion are needed to determine if biomechanics differ between normal and microgravity environments and to determine how combinations of external loads and exercise speed influence joint loading during in-flight treadmill exercise. Biomechanical analyses will aid in understanding potential differences in gait motion and allow for model-based determination of joint and muscle forces during exercise. The data will be used to characterize differences in specific bone and muscle loading during locomotion in the two gravitational conditions. By understanding these mechanisms, appropriate exercise prescriptions can be developed that address deficiencies.

Specific Aim 1: To quantify joint kinematics during treadmill locomotion on the ISS, and to compare those to treadmill locomotion on Earth. The goal of this aim is to measure joint kinematics during treadmill exercise using motion capture data collection. Exercise prescriptions have been developed under the assumption that walking and running in microgravity have the same training effects as during normal gravity. However, if locomotion kinematics differ between microgravity and normal gravity, it is reasonable to hypothesize that training effects may also differ. Furthermore, treadmill locomotion in microgravity occurs on a vibration isolation and stabilization (VIS) treadmill, which may increase the potential for training differences. Similarities and differences in joint kinematics during treadmill locomotion between normal gravity and microgravity on the ISS will be quantified.

Specific Aim 2: To develop a computer model that will assess locomotion speed and external loading condition influences upon joint torque. The overall goal of the advanced exercise prescription being provided to the crewmembers is to increase loading at the joints in order to provide a greater stimulus for bone and muscle health. The computer modeling approach requires inputs of anthropometric measurements, motion kinematics, and external forces applied to the body. External forces applied to the body will be measured with instrumentation built into the treadmill. A subject-specific computer model will be developed and will provide joint kinetic approximations. These approximations will be used to assess the effectiveness of the exercise prescription and will allow for an iterative approach in exercise prescription modification based on evidence. Furthermore, these data will provide better understanding of how exercise speed and external load affects the forces experienced by the joints and muscles. Providing subject loading information for exercise prescriptions will increase the effectiveness of exercise prescription.

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Exercise test

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Data Information
Data Availability
Archive is complete. Data sets are not publicly available but can be requested.
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Bungee configuration
External load
Ground reaction force
Heart rate
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Expedition 27 03/14/2011 05/23/2011 70 days
Expedition 28 05/23/2011 09/15/2011 115 days
Expedition 29 09/16/2011 11/21/2011 40 days
Expedition 30 11/14/2011 04/27/2012 166 days
Expedition 31 04/27/2012 07/01/2012 65 days
Expedition 32 07/01/2012 09/16/2012 78 days

Human Research Program (HRP) Human Research Roadmap (HRR) Information
Crew health and performance is critical to successful human exploration beyond low Earth orbit. The Human Research Program (HRP) investigates and mitigates the highest risks to human health and performance, providing essential countermeasures and technologies for human space exploration. Risks include physiological and performance effects from hazards such as radiation, altered gravity, and hostile environments, as well as unique challenges in medical support, human factors, and behavioral health support. The HRP utilizes an Integrated Research Plan (IRP) to identify the approach and research activities planned to address these risks, which are assigned to specific Elements within the program. The Human Research Roadmap is the web-based tool for communicating the IRP content.

The Human Research Roadmap is located at:

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Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Proposal Date
Proposal Source
Directed Research